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The Definitive Guide to Air Plants: Planting and Care Tips

Houseplants have become the new kind of pet in the past few years. They grow in our homes but can also sit outdoors, just like our living pets. We spend money and time on them, give them water, and some of us even sing or play music for our plants. Once every so often, we even feed them with fertilizer. We worry when they seem under the weather... Well, you get the point.
If you're an indoor plant enthusiast who's growing tired of dracaenas, or if you're just looking for an effortless addition to your interior design, consider air plants.

What Are Air Plants?

Air Plants
Also known by the scientific name Tillandsia, they are quite literally plants that grow without soil. They do not need any soil to thrive. Instead, they absorb nutrients from the air. How clever is that? They grow naturally in the jungles, on mountain tops, and in the deserts of Central and South America. They are also found naturally in Mexico and the southern states of the USA. Check out the many varieties and colors of air plants: 
 Air Plants
 Air Plants
 Air Plants

How to "Plant" Air Plants

 Air Plants on drift wood
Air plants won't benefit from soil, but they do need some kind of base for support. They have little thin roots that are used mainly to support the plant. You can put your air plants wherever you like, but make sure they receive plenty (and we mean plenty) of fresh air and indirect light. Air plants like it hot and humid, so if your bathroom is well lit and ventilated, they are the perfect candidate. 
Check out some of these suggestions for stylish air plant placement: 

On Macrame 

Air Plants in macrame

In a Ceramic Bowl

Air Plants in a metallic

In a Metallic Decorative Bowl 

Air Plants in a metallic bowl

On Driftwood

Air Plants on driftwood
As reasonable as it may seem, do not put your plant to grow on pressure-treated wood. Also, avoid copper objects or copper cables because copper destroys air plants. There are designated glues sold for air plants that secure them to their surface, but we wouldn't recommend them, as they could compromise the airflow.

In an Open Terrarium

Air Plants in a terrarium bowl

In a Hanging Terrarium 

Air Plant in a hanging terrarium
Just make sure it has ventilation holes, like the one in the picture, to allow airflow from multiple directions. 

How to Care For Air Plants

Air Plants blooming
Tillandsia varieties bloom only once in their life. They do produce offspring plants, though, just like succulents do. Wait until the tiny offspring is one-third to one-half of the length of the parent plant and gently pull or twist them off. If there's even slight resistance, wait until it separates easily. 
Guide to Air Plants
  • To water your air plant, immerse it in water for 20 minutes once a week. Alternatively, mist them all completely 2-3 times a week. It is best to water air plants in the morning.
  • If the plant is wet, it can't breathe properly, so make sure it is well ventilated and dries out completely after watering.
  • Do not leave your plants in direct sunlight.
  • Fertilizer is optional. Should you choose to use it, do so only a few times a year. A generic fertilizer designed for houseplants should work. That's it, you're all ready to start growing your very own air plants.

H/T: TreeHugger, AirPlantSupplyCo.

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